Team 9 takes the Winter 2020 championship as LRCA ends its fifth year on a sober note

Keith Lion, Blaise Masse, and Doc Dougherty were part of the Winter 2020 championship team.

Team 9 — consisting of Dave Alessandroni, Dan Barnard, Doc Dougherty, Keith Lion, and Blaise Masse — took the Winter 2020 league championship in convincing manner even as the season came to an abrupt halt with the closing of Pop Whalen arena because of Covid-19 fears.

The LRCA was forced to cancel matches for its final week, as well as calling off its end-of-year gathering and awards presentation. It was a sobering end to what was an otherwise outstanding year as the association marked its fifth year of operation with a final surge of new curlers in the winter season.

Team 9 ended the season with an admirable 7-1 record, with its only loss coming on February 9 to Irish Claddaghs, 7-6. While Team 9 played all eight of its scheduled matches, the outcome of the championship race was a foregone conclusion even before the final week’s cancelled contests.

The Winter 2020 season was unusual in that the predictable membership fall-off during the cold months was more than offset by an influx of new curlers, necessitating the fielding of nine teams and the use of a bye week for each squad.

With the end of the winter league, the LRCA completed its fifth year of operation bringing curling to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. A venture that started with the tentative hopes of the five original organizers — Mike Spence, Bud Booth, Hugh Crawford, Carl Crosley, and Rich Masse — took off on the enthusiasm around the impending 2018 Winter Olympics.

Over the years the organization has reached and recruited curling enthusiasts from around the Lakes Region and beyond. Now, with preparations and trials for the 2022 Winter Olympics scheduled to start in 2021, the new year promises a new surge of interest and involvement, and LRCA organizers will be at work over the summer months working on how to get the word out even more about this growing sport.

Dave Alessandroni
Dan Barnard